Martin, our most distinguished master of ceremonies, welcomed the slightly nervous looking guests of honour (who, no doubt, sensed that they might be in for something slightly unusual).
Due to budget constraints, the trumpet salute to welcome the royal couple took the form of a vuvuzela chorus.
Phil was then presented with his very own vuvuzela (custom made, hexagonally shaped to match the SALT mirror segments), signed by members of the SALT team.
Following an extensive FMECA (failure mode, effects, & criticality analysis) to ensure the safety of all concerned, it was decided that Phil should first attend a vuvuzela training course before attempting to operate this new SALT instrument.
Next up - the promise of a 21 gun saltute to mark this day...
But, alas - financial constraints limited us to the use of one of Eben's cannons. To the surprise of most, the size of the cannon is no indicator of how loud the blast is!
An aerial display by the Red Arrows, or even the South African Air Force's Silver Falcons would've been an ideal addition to the proceedings...
However - Ismail rejected the proposal on the grounds of budgetary constraints & so we were forced to call upon Hitesh for a series of flybys with Deon's somewhat bedraggled "Dirty Sanchez". This amounted to an invasion of Verreaux Eagle airspace & soon the pale intruder was joined in the sky by the menacing resident & escourted out of range.
Ceremony aside for a moment, Phil was presented with a handmade gentleman's folder knife...
This is yet another of Eben's beautiful works of functional art. The blade is RWL34 steel, the bolster is Alphen Powder Damascus, the handle is made of fossilised mammoth molar & the SALT logo & Eben's trademark were etched onto the blade using ferric chloride.
Just when things seemed to be settling down, along came the coach with which Phil & Anne were to be conveyed to the Rec Centre...
Luxury transport, Sutherland style!
With the meter running, there was only time for a Quick speech - something Phil has had to learn about during his 7 years in SA!
Then everyone was hauled around behind the hostel for a group photo with SALT in the background.
With that, it was time to go!
With a brave wave, the dignitaries were off...
Not quite into the sunset, but well on their way!
Over at the Rec Centre, while waiting for lunch, there was time to marvel at the amazing knife yet again :)
For once the hostel ladies got to take a break as well since lunch was provided by the Sutherland Hotel.
No one was left hungry!
& some tables even managed to stave off serious thirst as well ;)
Eventually it was time to say goodbye & wish Phil & Anne a safe trip back to CT & then on to the UK...
Everything of the best to you both in whatever adventures lie ahead! Do visit us again soon :)